By Zygmunt Bauman
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Extra resources for Alone Again (Demos Papers)
Much as the fragmented and discontinuous life promotes the waning of moral impulses, a shared life of continuous and multi-faceted relationships would reinvigorate moral responsibilities and awaken the urge to shoulder the task of managing (now truly common) affairs. Much as the life of episodes and the politics reduced to crisis-management both prompt the exit from politics, sharing of responsibilities would go a long way towards helping citizens to recover the voice they lost or stopped trying to make audible.
It is all too easy to expose other people’s hopes as not firmly enough founded, and their solutions as not realistic enough. It is much more difficult to propose one’s own warrants for hope and one’s own solutions that would be immune to similar charges. This is not because of the shortage of imagination or good will, but because the present human condition itself is shot through with ambivalence, and any diagnosis seems to point to two opposite directions simultaneously, towards developments whose compatibility is far from evident.
Such an ethics must be guided, says Jonas, by a ‘heuristics of fear’ and ‘principle of uncertainty’: even if the arguments of the pessimists and the optimists are finely balanced, ‘the prophecy of doom is to be given greater heed than the prophecy of bliss’. Jonas sums up with an updated (though – as he is quick to admit himself – far from logically self-evident) version of 30 Demos This page is covered by the Demos open access licence. Some rights reserved. uk/openaccess Risk and Limits Kant’s categorical imperative: ‘act so that the effects of your action are compatible with the permanence of genuine human life’.
Alone Again (Demos Papers) by Zygmunt Bauman